Examining the genetic consequence of habitat fragmentation in the northern Michigan white-footed mouse
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The white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis, is greatly impacted by habitat changes. It generally thrives in dense forests that provide shelter and protection from predators. However, the species is adaptable and can recolonize following habitat fragmentation. This project examines the genetic variability of these mice from trapping sites in Cheboygan County, Michigan. During the winter of 2003-2004, a one square kilometer area on the northern side of Webb Road was selectively logged. The logging on the north side of Webb Road resulted in a significant mouse population decline. However, trapping records in 2006 revealed that the habitat had regrown sufficiently to once again accommodate some mice on the north side of the road. The Hoffman lab also regularly trapped mice at another nearby site,Osmun 4. We analyzed the genetic diversity of the north side population as it has increased since the logging in 2003-2004. We now want to identify the potential colonizers of the regrowing north side. In order to answer this question, mice from a site approximately 1.6 kilometers away at Osmun 4 were analyzed. With the previous year’s data and new samples gathered from Osmun 4 in 2014 we will examine whether Osmun 4 is a possible source population to recolonize Webb Road post logging. We hypothesize that our data will elucidate the ability of these mice to recolonize logged areas in a forest that is being managed by rotational selective logging. This project will provide insight into the relationship between population genetics and habitat changes in the white-footed mouse and will help us develop our understanding of the research process.